Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.

Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.

March 04, 2010 12:08 ET

Great Western Minerals Group Signs Exclusivity Agreement With Rare Earth Extraction Co. Ltd.

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - March 4, 2010) - Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. ("GWMG" or the "Company) (TSX VENTURE:GWG) (PINK SHEETS:GWMGF) and Rare Earth Extraction Co. Ltd. of Stellenbosch ("Rareco"), South Africa are pleased to announce that they have entered into an exclusivity agreement (the "Agreement") that allows both companies to continue to move forward on their plans to jointly bring the former operating Steenkampskraal Mine back into production.

The Agreement complements the Option Agreement (the "Option") signed in December of 2008 and discussed in GWMG's news releases dated January 13 and September 25, 2009 and GWMG's annual information form for the year ended December 31, 2008. Subject to GWMG's satisfaction with the results of its due diligence and certain other conditions, GWMG intends to consider one or more transactions which may result in the acquisition of an equity interest in Rareco and/or the negotiation of a supply agreement (the "Supply Agreement"). 

The Agreement is also intended to assist Rareco in its efforts to obtain a new order mining right from South Africa's Department of Mineral Resources (the "DMR"), to assist Rareco in preparation for full site development and to provide added certainty and flexibility with respect to GWMG's negotiation of an appropriate transaction structure. 

Under the terms of the Agreement, GWMG will pay to Rareco the sum of ZAR 75,000 (approximately C$10,275) per month for up to 12 months for certain standstill provisions and undertakings including, but not limited to:

  • Working with the DMR to expedite the conversion of the old order mining right to a new order mining right;
  • Obtaining all necessary governmental and regulatory approvals required to operate the Steenkampskraal Mine once the new order mining right is issued;
  • Funding the rehabilitation guarantee required by the DMR in respect of the Steenkampskraal Mine; and
  • Facilitating the receipt of all necessary governmental and regulatory approvals for GWMG's involvement in the ownership structure of the project.

In the meantime, GWMG will be initiating, with Rareco, several activities on the property designed to move the project forward rapidly once the new order mining right is received. These activities include:

  • Upgrading and maintaining the mine access road;
  • Setup of the existing mine office building;
  • Delivering appropriate supplies and equipment to the property for communications, health and safety and general administration;
  • Establishing surface and underground survey control;
  • Digitizing appropriate existing surface and underground maps and data; and
  • Collecting surface and underground samples for a full suite of assays, QEMSCAN work, and verification of the process design.

Rareco has also made application for a sizable exploration permit surrounding the Steenkampskraal Mine area where other rare earth occurrences are known to exist.

The Company is pleased to report that, pursuant to the terms of the original Option, both parties are advancing a working draft of the Supply Agreement contemplated in the Option. Under the terms of the Supply Agreement, GWMG would obtain the right to purchase 100% of the rare earth products recovered from the mining and processing of the Steenkampskraal ore. GWMG may exercise its rights under the Option by delivering the draft Supply Agreement within 90 days of the issuance of the new order mining right. A portion of the rare earth production from the Steenkampskraal Mine would be used to supply both of GWMG's manufacturing facilities at Less Common Metals Limited and Great Western Technologies Inc. with their entire rare earth requirements when manufacturing operations are at full capacity. 

Trevor Blench, Chairman of Rareco says, "It has been a long hard road to bring Steenkampskraal this close to production, and we are pleased to be working with the people at Great Western Minerals Group to do so. The fact that they may be utilizing a significant portion of the rare earth production, in their own manufacturing plants to produce value-added products for their existing customers, gives us considerable comfort on the mine revenue side. The preparatory activities currently being discussed and implemented will help ensure a quick start to construction once the new order mining right is received."

Jim Engdahl, President and CEO of Great Western Minerals Group says, "We are excited about strengthening our relationship with Rareco and we believe that this agreement will provide an even more solid foundation, allowing us to move forward more aggressively toward our mutual goal of returning the Steenkampskraal Mine to production expeditiously." Engdahl adds, "While in South Africa, we toured the property with a Member of Parliament from the governing African National Congress, who shares our excitement about the much needed job opportunities that the Steenkampskraal Mine would provide to a depressed area of South Africa and we are proud to be working with Rareco in contributing to the economic and social well-being of the people there."

Jim Engdahl
President and CEO

Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. is a Canadian-based developer of Rare Earth Element assets, with four active rare earth exploration and development properties in North America with an option on a former-producing property in South Africa. In addition, as part of the Company's strategy to pursue a vertically-integrated business model, the Company's wholly-owned subsidiaries of Less Common Metals Limited located in Birkenhead, UK, and Great Western Technologies Inc., located in Troy, Michigan, produce a variety of specialty alloys for use in the battery, magnet and aerospace industries. These "designer" alloys include those containing aluminum, nickel, cobalt and the rare earth elements.

Certain information set out in this News Release constitutes forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements (often, but not always, identified by the use of words such as "expect", "may", "could", "anticipate" or "will" and similar expressions) may describe expectations, opinions or guidance that are not statements of fact and which may be based upon information provided by third parties. Forward-looking statements are based upon the opinions, expectations and estimates of management of Great Western Minerals Group as at the date the statements are made and are subject to a variety of known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or outcomes to differ materially from those anticipated or implied by such forward-looking statements. Those factors include, but are not limited to the entering into of a definitive agreement, receipt of all required approvals and risks, uncertainties and other factors that are beyond the control of GWMG, risks associated with the industry in general, commodity prices and exchange rate changes, operational risks associated with exploration, development and production operations, delays or changes in plans, risks associated with the uncertainty of reserve estimates, health and safety risks and the uncertainty of estimates and projections of production, costs and expenses. In light of the risks and uncertainties associated with forward-looking statements, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance upon forward-looking information. Although GWMG believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements set out in this press release or incorporated herein by reference are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. The forward-looking statements of GWMG contained in this press release, or incorporated herein by reference, are expressly qualified, in their entirety, by this cautionary statement and the risk factors contained in GWMG's current annual information form.

CUSIP: 39141Y 10 3

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Contact Information

  • Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.
    Ron Malashewski
    Manager of Investor Relations
    (306) 659-4500
    Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.
    226 Cardinal Crescent
    Saskatoon, SK S7L 6H8